Ethics professors say it’s this kind of explicit training that is needed to truly teach ethics. They say that more is required than just the so-called “hidden curriculum,” the absorption of ethical sensibilities and values through observation of faculty in the clinic.
Explore This IssueNovember 2011
“I think there is clearly a need and a role for something more explicit, and there’s literature out there that supports that,” Dr. Lee said.
Dr. Carrese said that the age-old question of whether a resident can be made to be “more ethical,” or whether you’re either ethical or not when you leave home, is a little off base. It’s the knowledge and skills that really matter, he said. And those can be taught.
“Let’s take the issue of empathy,” he said. “It’s very hard for me to say whether literally I can make somebody more empathic in the sense of, are they in their soul emphatic, do they really care about their patients. But whether or not that’s true, I’m pretty sure I can teach them to have the skill set of being more empathic. So I can teach them to be more aware of patients who are in need of empathy, to have a proper attitude about it, to be more knowledgeable and ultimately to be more skilled in saying things that are empathic.”